Category Archives: Shelter News

ASK THE SHELTER: What is a “stray” dog, and what do I do if I find one?

This is an excellent question, and one that isn’t as simple to answer as you may think.

Whether a dog is a stray or not sometimes depends on the laws in your particular area.

In Ferry County, only the city of Republic has a leash law.

If you are within Republic city limits, and spot an unaccompanied dog off leash, that dog is a stray dog. If you find a stray dog in the city limits, you should:

1. Check the dog for a collar and ID or licensing tags; the city also has a dog licensing law, so all dogs that live within city limits should have a license tag on their collars.

2. If there is a collar with tags, but no identification that provides the owner’s contact info, you can find the owner’s info by calling City Hall with the dog license tag information, OR by calling the veterinarian listed on the dog’s rabies tag and providing the rabies tag number.

3. If there is no identification, you may want to try using social networking to find the dog’s owner. Facebook groups like Ferry County Exchange, 99166, or Lost/Stolen/Found Animals often have rapid success at returning the dog to its owner quickly. Even if the owner is not on Facebook, their friends, relatives, or neighbors may be, and can recognize the dog and contact the owner. If you are not on Facebook, you can send a picture of the dog to Forget Me Not (info at forgetmenotshelter dot org) and we will be happy to post on Facebook for you.

4. If all attempts to locate the owner fail, you can contact Republic Police Department to impound the stray; they will take it to Konz Veterinary, which has an impound contract with the city, where it will be held for 3 days to give the owner a chance to find it.

If you are outside Republic city limits, things are a little bit murkier due to the lack of leash or licensing laws.

If the dog seems to be moving with purpose along the road, and he is not creating an overly dangerous situation for drivers in the area, there is a good chance he is not a stray dog, but is simply a local country dog off on his daily explorations, possibly heading home. If you don’t see the dog in the same place a second time, he has probably gone home. It is not illegal for a dog in Ferry County to wander to his heart’s content, as long as he is not chasing livestock or causing accidents.

If the dog is wandering aimlessly in one set area along a road, looking nervous or appearing to be waiting for someone, then she may be lost – a “stray” dog – and in need of some assistance finding her way home.

If the dog is found on your property and doesn’t leave within a couple of hours, it is also safe to assume he is a stray dog.

When finding a stray dog within the county, and there is no collar with ID, the best procedure is:

1. Bring the dog to a safe place with you if you are able to do so. If you cannot bring the dog with you, make a note of exactly where the dog is (mile markers, cross streets, nearby houses or landmarks) so someone would be able to find the location. Take photos if you can.

2. Call the shelter 509-775-2308 or email info at forgetmenotshelter dot org to report the stray. Email reaches the volunteers faster than phone calls, but either method will work. If you email, please include a couple of photos of the dog if you are able. When the shelter receives photos by email, we can start searching for the dog’s owner immediately, and sometimes can connect you with the owner directly, which eliminates the need to have law enforcement impound the dog, or to have the dog brought to Forget Me Not.

3. If the owner can’t be found quickly, the Forget Me Not volunteers will arrange an appointment for you to bring the dog in to the shelter; we will also take care of notifying the Ferry County Sheriff so they can impound the stray, we will check the dog for a microchip, and we will do flyers and online ads to try to locate the dog’s owner.

Please only pick up the dog if you are able to hang onto her until arrangements can be made for her to come into the shelter. Forget Me Not is primarily staffed by volunteers, and has no set operating hours; we will need to find a volunteer who can make an appointment with you to go to the shelter and do intake on the dog, so it can sometimes take 24-48 hours from the time you pick up the dog to the time it comes to the shelter. If you cannot care for the dog for up to 48 hours, please just take photos, make a precise notation of the exact location of the dog, and call or email the shelter with the information so we can post the dog’s photo and location online and either find her owner, or find a volunteer in the community who can pick her up and bring her to the shelter by appointment.

NEVER pick up a stray dog and just decide to keep it. That is considered theft of property, which *is* illegal. Even if a stray dog is emaciated, injured, or appears to have been beaten or neglected, you don’t know the full story. It could be a child’s beloved pet that was lost 2 months ago on a stop for gas in Republic, and has been wandering all this time hoping to find its family again. Generally, if the dog is neglected or abused, the owner will not want to pick it up from the shelter and pay the impound fees/go on record as the owner. If the dog is a beloved pet that has been missing, the owner generally gets to the shelter as fast as humanly possible, and there is a joyful, tearful reunion.

If the owner is not located, or doesn’t pick up their dog, Forget Me Not will then place the stray up for adoption, after making sure it is spayed/neutered, microchipped, treated for any parasites, and up to date on its vaccinations. You can then apply to adopt the dog back and become the dog’s new (and forever) legal owner.

ASK THE SHELTER: Is Forget Me Not Animal Shelter a “No-Kill” shelter?

Yes, Forget Me Not Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter. After 10 years of operating “as if” we were no-kill, the Board of Directors voted this year to officially become part of the No-Kill Nation movement.

What that means is, no healthy, adoptable pet will ever be euthanized for lack of space or length of time at the shelter.

Pets with treatable medical conditions will receive appropriate treatment and be placed up for adoption, as long as they have a reasonable likelihood of good quality of life post-treatment. Recent examples of these pets would be Sammi (fka Cuckoo) and Dunlin, senior cats that received radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism, and Freckles, a dog who is in the process of receiving appropriate surgeries and physical therapy to heal from injuries received in his prior home.

Being a no-kill shelter does not mean we will leave a pet suffering. Recently, Vader, one of the senior shelter kitties, was found to have an enormous, inoperable tumor in his abdomen. We knew he was suffering, because he would growl every time we picked him up. Part of our responsibility to the shelter pets is providing them the loving care they need, even when that means relieving their suffering with humane euthanasia. When that is the best option for a pet, one of the volunteers is there with them so they have comfort and love during their last moments.

The other exception for no-kill shelters is for animals that are too dangerous or aggressive to safely house and rehome. In addition to our responsibilities toward the pets in our care, we have a responsibility toward the community, and toward our volunteers and staff. Forget Me Not generally will not accept any aggressive pets into the Happy Homes adoption program.

There are two things that will enable Forget Me Not to thrive as a no-kill shelter:

1. Partnerships with other shelters and rescues. We have already reached out to several shelters and rescues around the state, to have a safety-net in place in case of overcrowding or long-time pets that need some new exposure to find their forever homes.

2. Foster homes, local and across the state, that can help us in times of crisis, or with pets that need some special TLC. This is where YOU can come in! We would like to create a “go-to” list of available foster homes, and can tailor your foster pets according to your preferences, and place a pet with you only as often as you prefer.

Want to sign up to be a life-saving foster home? Give us a call at 509-775-2308 (leave a message, we’ll call you back); message us on Facebook ; or send us an email: info “at” forgetmenotshelter “dot” org.

Megan, Ella, and Sam

Ella gives back! How one shelter adoptee is making a big difference

Meet Ella, adopted from Forget Me Not in summer 2004. This is Ella now, with her parents Megan Lyden and Sam Mann:

Megan, Ella, and Sam

Megan Lyden, Ella, Sam Mann

And this is how Ella looked when she first arrived at her Forget Me Not foster home in 2004, a skinny, bedraggled stray with a coat full of burrs and grass seeds:

Ella in 2004

Ella in 2004

Ella was Forget Me Not’s very first long-distance adoption (her shelter ID number was 15, meaning she was the 15th pet taken into the Happy Homes Adoption Program)! Megan and Sam made the 12-hour round-trip drive to pick her up, and she has been one happy dog ever since. Here she is playing dress-up:

Ella in disguise

Ella in disguise

…and here she is, showing off her fancy moves:

Ella agility

Ella agility

Ella came to visit Forget Me Not recently, bringing her parents Megan and Sam… and a donation in their names from Microsoft, Sam’s employer. It turns out that Sam was part of a team that won a Microsoft Technical Recognition Award (this is a VERY impressive feat), for creating the Kinect skeletal recognition system (if you have an Xbox, you probably know what that is). As part of this prestigious award, Sam and Megan got to choose a nonprofit to receive $50,000 – and Forget Me Not is honored, humbled, and oh so excited to be their choice!

Here is Ella (with an assist from Megan and Sam) presenting the check to Forget Me Not’s Board of Directors and Executive Director:

Presenting the check

L-R: Jill Heming, Secretary; Sarah Wilson, Treasurer; Megan Lyden; Samuel Mann; Ella; Laura Brown, President; Kim Gillen, Executive Director; Lin Seynave, Vice President; Colleen Randle, Board Member

Forget Me Not will be using this funding to pay off the mortgage on the property; we also recently were granted a State of Washington 501 (c)3 humane society property tax exemption, so with no mortgage and no taxes, we are confident Forget Me Not will be here forever (or at least until there are no more unwanted pets – we can dream).

While the size of the donation is amazing and inspiring, the fact that Sam and Megan chose Forget Me Not is what matters the most to all of us. Whenever an adopter comes back to us after their adoption – with a donation, be it $5 or $50,000, or to adopt another family member, or to volunteer, or just to visit – we are so grateful to know they feel that continued connection to Forget Me Not. Even though we have well over 1,000 adopters in the past 8 years, we really do feel like each one is a member of our family. We hope to continue to receive our annual holiday photo of Megan, Sam and Ella for many more years!

Stop the Cycle

Stop the Cycle

Stop the Cycle information

Do you know a Ferry County resident who is littering? I don’t mean tossing fast food wrappers out of their car; I mean creating unwanted litters of puppies or kittens, because they have been unable to spay their female pets.

Forget Me Not has a fabulous program to help end the “littering” problem in Ferry County. Our Stop the Cycle program gives residents with an “oops” litter a way out. We will take in the entire litter of puppies or kittens after they are weaned, and will make sure each is spayed/neutered before going to a screened and approved adoptive home. There is no surrender fee for Stop the Cycle litters; the only requirement is that the owner allow us to spay the mother animal, at little or no cost to them.

Please help us to encourage Ferry County “litterers” to clean up right now, by spaying all their female pets and allowing Forget Me Not to place the puppies or kittens into new homes after spay/neuter. No unwanted litter (yet)? We also offer voucher assistance to low-income county residents; while we enjoy finding new homes for unwanted litters, it’s always best to prevent that litter in the first place.

One simple phone call can Stop the Cycle.

Volunteer to help dogs

Forget Me Not Animal Shelter now has both cat buildings and dog buildings open and accepting adoptable pets – YAY!

Unfortunately, the only way we can continue accepting dogs into the adoption program is if more people sign up to volunteer as dog caregivers. We are losing two of our primary dog caregivers, and will no longer have enough volunteers to provide the necessary daily care for us to safely and humanely house dogs. Please do not make the mistake of thinking “someone else will do it” – so far, Someone Else has not stepped up, leaving us in danger of closing just when we finally got going. We need your help!

There are 14 caregiver shifts per week: 7 morning shifts, generally starting around 8:30 (although a bit earlier or later is OK), and 7 evening shifts, generally starting 5:30-6:30.

Depending on the type and number of dogs in the shelter, each shift generally lasts from 1 to 2 hours.

Dog caregiver duties include:

  • removing dog from kennel & bringing outside, either to a tie-out or for a walk if time permits
  • cleaning kennel if soiled, straightening kennel if not soiled
  • filling food and water bowls
  • occasional medication and grooming needs

The types of dogs being cared for are usually quite varied; we’ve had everything from 5-pound hyper chihuahua mixes, to 10-year-old slowpoke senior bulldogs, to a 75-pound crazy, goofy, untrained lab mix. Dog caregivers must be comfortable working with a wide range of dogs, though we do NOT intake aggressive or dangerous dogs, so you would not be asked to care for an aggressive dog.

If you can spare 2 hours per week to help Ferry County’s homeless dogs, or if you’d just like to sign up to be an occasional fill-in dog caregiver, please let us know. Contact Kim at to make an appointment for shelter duty introduction and training, to see if you’d like to take on a shift.

To make it extra-fun, sign up with a buddy! It’s always easier if there are 2 people per shift. We can also pair you up with another volunteer as needed. You can sign up as either a shift supervisor, or as a shift assistant, depending on your preferences.

Shift supervisors are the primary dog caregivers, and need to be in fairly good physical condition (duties include working with all the dogs of all sizes, sometimes hauling 40-pound food bags, and some physical work scrubbing, rinsing, and drying soiled kennels). Shift assistants will work with shift supervisors, and can perform whatever duties they are physically capable of doing.

Can’t do a morning or evening shift? We could also use dog walkers on a drop-in basis in the afternoons; let us know if you’d like to sign up as a dog walker and we’ll arrange an orientation visit for you. Dog walkers may choose which dogs they prefer to walk; you do not need to walk all the dogs, just whichever dogs you are most comfortable with, and on whatever days and times work with your schedule.

Prefer cats to dogs? Let us know that, too, and we’ll get you connected to some cat volunteers.

If you are unable to help out in person, please pass the word along to as many of your friends, neighbors, and coworkers as possible. We need at least 8 new dog caregiver volunteers to sign up before the end of the year.

We’ve worked hard to reach the point where Ferry County now has an actual shelter for our homeless and unwanted pets; now we need your help to continue this work, and to make a difference in the lives of these dogs and cats. Thanks for caring about shelter pets!

Ringworm outbreak at shelter infects eighteen adoptable pets

An October ringworm outbreak at the shelter has left eighteen of our twenty-one adoptable pets infected. Infected pets include:

  • Alameda
  • Adriano (adopted after infection)
  • Acosta
  • Aguafria
  • SilverBelle
  • ChiangMai
  • Siobhan
  • Wasabe
  • Lambert
  • Fantasia
  • Doolittle
  • Melinda
  • Six unnamed leMutte puppies

This leaves only Cupid (who is on “longtimers discount”), Surat (currently on “adoption pending”), and Zorro uninfected.

All of these pets (except, of course, Adriano, since he’s already with his new owner) entered treatment on Monday, November 1.

It is important to understand that ringworm is nothing to be afraid of. It is, in fact, even less serious of an infection than athlete’s foot or those mushrooms in your lawn. Stay tuned for a blog about ringworm and why it’s nothing to fear.

Donate a Kuranda Bed

Donate a Bed
Our dogs and cats love to sleep on Kuranda beds, but we don’t have enough for everyone. If you would like to donate a bed at a special wholesale price for a another dog or cat to sleep in comfort, please donate a Kuranda bed